IntroductionEPoX 9NDA3+ S939 nForce3 Ultra
Motherboard manufacturers are always keen to jump on a new chipset and produce retail boards at the earliest possible opportunity. There's also considerably greater impetus to market boards that are based on fast CPUs. AMD Athlon 64's S939 is a case in point. Chipset design is made that little bit easier by not having to tweak a memory controller that's normally located on the chipset's north bridge, and the blistering pace set by a series of Athlon 64s makes S939 a hugely attractive choice for the enthusiast, especially if the motherboard manufacturer can implement bus locks to its designs.
EPoX has fully understood the potential that S939 offers. AMD's made this form factor even more attractive by releasing a number of slower S939 processors that overclock well. The real choice for a top-tier manufacturer is whether to plump for VIA or NVIDIA's chipsets, or, in some cases, both. EPoX has gone with NVIDIA's single-chip design, in both AGP and PCI-Express flavours.
The promise of locks to the sensitive PCI/AGP buses and EPoX's usual attention towards overclocking makes the EP-9NDA3+ an attractive motherboard on paper. Let's see if that promise holds up to HEXUS' scrutiny.